T. E. D. Klein
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Jeremy Freirs is a graduate student and teacher who decides to spend his summer working on his dissertation and preparing for the class he will be teaching in the fall on Gothic Literature; he thinks he has found the perfect place in Gilead, New Jersey, is a world all to its own, the home of a strict religious sect with extremely puritan ideas. Moving into a former storage building on the farm of Sarr and Deborah Poroth, he expects to spend a productive summer free from essentially all distractions - he is quite wrong in this assumption. Meanwhile, in New York, the rather reserved Carol Conklin goes about trying to survive in the big city on a small income from her job at a library. She meets Jeremy in New York just before he leaves for the summer, and a connection is made which will find the couple developing a romantic relationship on somewhat strange terms. What Jeremy and Carol do not know is that this relationship is the work of a strange, little old man known as Mr. Rosebottom. Rosie is actually the Old One working to bring his master back after a very long absence, and Jeremy and Carol are the unsuspecting keys to his success
gloves. It takes him but a minute to remove the boiler plate midway up the side. Within, the gas burns a bright and steady blue, and the roaring it makes is like a waterfall. The flame is not high now - in summertime the furnace only heats the building's water - but its force is still intense; as he lays aside the metal plate, his face is scorched by blasts of burning air. In the firelight, the black streaks on his skin look like a sunburst. Stepping back to where the heat is less intense, he
roof. The door swung open. 'Good,' she said briskly. 'I've been waiting for you.' The wind had picked up again, and the rain had come back, a dull monotonous drizzle. Freirs roused himself and looked at his watch. Though it looked like early evening, it was just after two; Sarr would be leaving soon. He forced himself to his feet and hurried toward the house. Halfway there, shielding himself against the rain, he came to a bare patch in the yard and saw tire tracks filling with water. Shit!
he remembered how, at last Sunday's worship, the sickle had been blessed in the Cleansing; maybe it would bring him luck tonight. They had charged heedlessly over the stream, all of them but Lindt who was hurt and Geisel who was old and Freirs who was sightless; these three had picked their way more slowly, fearful of losing their footing. Freirs had been the last. As he stumbled across, the air ringing with shouts and splashing and the subterranean rumbling that still hadn't ceased, he was sure
refused to cash it - would remain so all weekend. Her roommate never had any money either; she got men to pay for everything. It was an arrangement that, at this point, Carol would have welcomed. With a hand on her pocketbook and an eye peeled for strangers she wandered farther south, lingering a minute or two before a shop off the park, where she stared pensively at a slinky blue dress in the window and tried to imagine herself in it. Afterward she considered a more modest transaction -
overgrown with flowers. She was so busy admiring them as she drove by that she almost didn't see the tall, faceless figure looming darkly at the edge of the road. With a little cry she swerved to avoid it, the car speeding around the bank of earth and shrubbery as if under its own volition, carrying her past. The road climbed farther, curving now in the other direction; she wasn't inclined to look back. It was only later, when the house would have been concealed from sight behind the bend, that